Saturday, November 11, 2006

Men's-only Swim in the Baltimore Park Heights JCC

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Park Heights JCC - Then and Now

I met a (non-Jewish) guy who worked at the Park Heights JCC in Baltimore around 1994-1997. He told me that he was shocked at what goes on there at the men's-only Sunday morning swim. The men there identified themselves as Hassidic. Apparently, everyone swims nude, including the children. The men lounge around in the buff on the leather couches.

"There's something really disturbing about seeing a 40 year old man perform a backflip naked," he said.

What I find most disturbing about this is the presence of children and the laissez faire attitude. This is a situation ripe for sexual abuse. Another disturbing aspect of this is that I thought the Hassidim stringently follow the laws of modesty, which this seems to violate. If the men want to enjoy themselves and swim in the nude, I don't really have a problem with that. It's the presence of children that I find irresponsible and distubring.

Does anyone know more about this, or have any opinions? The children in the Hassidic community, particularly, need to be protected against sexual abuse, since once it happens, there is little hope that it will be reported or the child will get proper treatment. This is something that will have a lasting impact on the child's life.


Anonymous JCC member said...

This is a disgusting display of simple anti-hassidic/anti-orthodox rhetoric.
The JCC rules read as follows :
"11.A proper bathing suit is required in the pool. No underwear, cut-off jeans/pants or colored t-shirts are allowed."

The JCC pool is licensed and certified by State Board of Health. They have a community reputation to protect. The JCC is not an orthodox organization, but a communal one.
There is no way they would risk their certification and reputation AND the loss of membership dues, by allowing this type of practice.

Every community pool or JCC or YMHA that has seperate hours enforces the rules the same as for the general membership. Lifeguards are on duty and all rules are enforced.

This type of posting diminishing the credibility of this blog. I don't even think TAC would run such a blatent attempt at besmirching the orthodox community in Baltimore.
It is beneath contempt. And...if it were true, why didn't your "friend" report his claims to the JCC administration who is not orthodox?
Why not call the Board of Health?


November 11, 2006 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they can't follow the laws of modesty in the Mikvah, why would they in a men's only public swim time?

November 11, 2006 6:42 PM  
Anonymous yisroel said...

check out failed messiah's and Chaptzem's latest posts about mikvahs !!

November 11, 2006 6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is simply false information.

this website is getting crazy. who ever provided the information is either nuts or intentionaly lying.

oh well

November 11, 2006 9:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you know that this is false information? Where you there?

November 11, 2006 9:32 PM  
Anonymous JCC member said...

Does anyone read?
Is there a compelling reason to believe that the Baltimore JCC would permit this type of activity?

Why would lifeguards permit this?

To the poster who wrote "How do you know it's false, where you there?"

The onus should be on the claimant to prove the event occurred. Since the evidence is overwhelming that it could not occur due to the posted rules of the JCC, the lack of any complaint being filed with any authority, and the utterly absurd nature of the post- I'd say it indeed never happened. Let the person who worked there prove it.

As for the mikvah- Mikvaos are unsupervised by and large.
JCC pools are not

November 12, 2006 6:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From what I read Mara "met a (non-Jewish) guy who worked at the Park Heights JCC in Baltimore" who made the disclosure. What does this guy gain get by making this up?

What does those in Baltimore gain by saying it's made up? What does those in Baltimore gain by saying the rabbis never cover up cases of sexual abuse?

Then we just have to ask them about Matis Weinberg, Shmuel Juravel, Yaakov Menken, Eliezer Eisgrau, and the newly "retired" Moshe Eisemann?

November 12, 2006 7:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For what it's worth...

For decades at the New York Athletic Club in Manhattan, all the male members swam in the nude.

That changed when they started letting in women about twenty years ago.

It was fairly common practise at other men's clubs to do this.

November 12, 2006 8:34 AM  
Anonymous Another JCC member said...

Didn't we all go skinny dipping once or twice in our younger days?

The issue I have isn't with men or women swimming naked. The issue I have is with children be around when adults do it.

This has absolutely nothing to do with being anti-hassidic/andi-orthodox rhetoric. It has to do with protecting our children.

November 12, 2006 10:01 AM  
Anonymous jcc member said...

So, concerned people. Why doesn't someone pick up the phone and call the Maryland Dept. of health and report this?
Why doesn't someone contact the Executive Officers? They are listed on the website:

Louis M. Sapolsky, President
410.356.5200 x301 (OM)
410.542.4900 x273 (PH)
Dale G. Busch, Executive Vice President
410.356.5200 x356 (OM)
410.542.4900 x209 (PH)

Charles E. Bevans, Senior Vice President, Finance
410.542.4900 x230 (PH)

Phil Miller, Vice President
410.542.4900 x246 (PH)

or the Aquatics Manager at Park Heights
Shawnise Crawford, Aquatics Coordinator
410.542.4900 x626 (PH)

or this person

Phil Miller, Vice President and Building Supervisor
410.542.4900 x246 (PH)

You say you want to protect the children, then stop posting silly responses and barrage the JCC with your concerns!

You want to know why you don't call?
Because you likely say to yourselves "they are probably all in on it so they are all probably turning a blind eye".

Yes, I am sure that the Maryland Dept. of Health isn't concerned if people are bathing nude in pool in a public facility.

Stop your complaining and rhetoric and pick up the phone and call them.

I won't do it. Why not? Because I know that these are lies and heresay coming from an unrelable source that is several years old.

November 12, 2006 11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

while I am very sensitive to child abuse and neglect issues (I am a Social Worker who works in Child Welfare) I am glad to see the last posting, surely a voice of reason in a sea of absurdity. I am concerned that at times stories get circulated that are just ridiculous. As a Baltmore resident, I must say that the idea of a Hasidic Nude Swim-a-thon is simply ridiculous, plain and simple. People have to use common sense before they post sensationalistic topics such as these. We can be sensitive to child abuse/neglect and still use our heads.


November 13, 2006 3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a great deal of concerns about the comments made regarding Mara's post. Do you believe that Mara is orthodox bashing?

I personally didn't take it that way at all. Mara is reporting something someone she knows said regarding his time working at the JCC in Park Heights.

It's funny that we are all giving permission to men back then to swim naked. If this was about women swimming in the buff I wonder if the responses would be the same?

The one anonymous poster stated:
"the nude swims ended in the summer of 1994. A few old men swam nude. Children rarly ever came. they have school on sunday. I never saw any swimming nude if they did come."

So I guess prior to 1994 it was ok for there to be a nude swim at the JCC, even if it meant that from time to time one child might be present?

I was also reading the postings because they mentioned that Baltimore wasn't that frum back then. There's some thing strange about this whole thing.

November 13, 2006 4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

can someone explain to me why it is so bad for a child to see naked people.

have you never been in a locker room in your life? this is part of life and present in every changing room/locker room in the world.

i don't get in? what is the big deal???

November 13, 2006 9:41 PM  
Anonymous qsman said...

What a bunch of absolute flamebait. HATE BALTIMORE!!!!

As a member who goes swimming at PH on Sunday mornings, that was at *least 10 years ago*. Management came down HARD on the men doing this after numerous complaints, and has not been a problem since. There is now often a female (dressed) lifeguard on duty as well in the mornings, I suspect for this reason as well.

November 16, 2006 10:55 AM  

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